Special lubrication system for a 7-kilometer cable car.

His latest, impressive major project opened at the beginning of last year: the Oculus station in New York. The light-flooded rail station in Liège-Guillemins, Belgium, is similarly spectacular, as are many other projects by the architect Santiago Calatrava.

Drivers heading towards the Ardennes on the E25 approach the narrow end of the station building, but the highway leads them into a tunnel before they can even grasp the dimensions of the structure. Rail travelers get a much more impressive view of the larger side of Liège-Guillemins Station.

39 beams with a combined weight of 3,000 tons carry the seemingly delicate steel structure of this architectural highlight in the Belgian metropolis. The daring, futuristic construction is topped off by a giant glass roof measuring 32,000 square meters. It towering above the track bed, exceeding it by up to 40 meters. Santiago Calatrava designed this station on the main Paris–Lille–Brussels–Cologne line, put into operation in late 2009 after a construction phase of almost ten years. Located in the Walloon part of Belgium, Liège-Guillemins is an important hub in the European high-speed rail network: more than 500 trains stop here every day.

32,000 square meters of glass. A 7-kilometer cable car ensures a large amount of incident light.

Architectural masterpieces of this caliber (the swaying roof arch is 200 meters long) frequently pose great challenges for maintenance and service workers. They often require artistic expertise and even mountaineering skills. To ensure that this architectural wonder remains flooded by sunlight, the interior cleaning staff had to come up with a special solution for the glass canopy, located at a truly vertiginous altitude. And they did: a service vehicle driving along the ceiling, controlled by the cleaning staff, covers the seven-kilometer route involved in the cleaning work.

The apparently delicate steel construction consists of 39 beams weighing a total of 3,000 tons.

40 m above the track bed – the service cable car for high-flyers.

The Belgian company Secalt constructed and installed a service vehicle that is suspended from the ceiling, and whose pinion gear drives engage with two fixed chains mounted to the ceiling with aluminum guide rails. This special cleaning device was equipped with a grease-spraying system provided by Walther Systemtechnik, a partner company of BECHEM, which distributes the grease evenly on the installed chain, protecting it from corrosion and providing lubrication. For structural reasons, the chain is made from oxidizing steel. The name of this lubrication solution is BECHEM High-Lub SW 2 V. The lubricant is applied by two spraying valves, which are mounted on the right and left chain rails and monitored by a pressure sensor system. Thanks to the special nozzle geometry of the valves, no misting occurs. The glass panes themselves remain free of lubricant.

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Rolf Walther, Managing Director of the BECHEM partner company Walther Systemtechnik GmbH

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